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Case Name Speet v. Schuette FA-MI-0004
Docket / Court 1:11-cv-00972-RJJ ( W.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Michigan ACLU
Case Summary
A homeless resident and a veteran with disabilities, arrested and prosecuted under the state anti-begging statute, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against the City of Grand Rapids and its police department on September 13, 201 ... read more >
A homeless resident and a veteran with disabilities, arrested and prosecuted under the state anti-begging statute, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against the City of Grand Rapids and its police department on September 13, 2011. The Statute criminalized all begging in public places, but its enforcement was not compulsory. The plaintiffs wanted to continue asking the public for employment or financial assistance but feared prosecution under the Statute. The plaintiffs, represented by attorneys from the ACLU, sought declaratory, injunctive and monetary relief, challenging the constitutionality of the Statute, both on the face and as applied. The plaintiffs alleged that the enforcement of the Statute resulted in violation of the plaintiffs' rights under the Freedom of Speech Clause, Equal Protection Clause, and Due Process Clause. They further alleged that the defendants failed to train, supervise, and discipline their personnel and officers to act in accordance with the Constitution.

On August 24, 2012, the District Court (Judge Robert J. Jonker) granted partial summary judgment to the plaintiffs. Speet v. Schuette, 889 F. Supp. 2d 969 (W.D. Mich. 2012). The Court concluded that the Statute, on its face, violates the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In his opinion, Judge Jonker found that the Statute was a content-based restriction on protected speech in public fora and it caused disparate treatment, so strict scrutiny applied. The defendants failed to demonstrate that the statute was narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling state interest and thus it failed the test.

On September 13, 2012, the Court entered final judgment on these two counts and issued a permanent injunction prohibiting the defendants and its personnel and officers from enforcing the Statute at issue, in response to the plaintiffs' stipulation. The defendants appealed the decision to the Sixth Circuit. This case is ongoing.

Emma Bao - 06/24/2013


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Freedom of speech/association
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
General
Disparate Treatment
Failure to discipline
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
Pattern or Practice
Poverty/homelessness
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) City of Grand Rapids
Plaintiff Description Two persons, a homeless resident and a veteran with disabilities, arrested and prosecuted under the state anti-begging statute.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Michigan ACLU
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2012 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
1:11-cv-972 (W.D. Mich.) 10/02/2012
FA-MI-0004-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Press Release 05/16/2011
FA-MI-0004-0002 PDF | Detail
Document Source:
Complaint 09/13/2011
FA-MI-0004-0003 PDF | Detail
Document Source:
Opinion and Order [Granting Partial Summary Judgment in favor of Plaintiffs] 08/24/2012 (889 F.Supp.2d 969) (W.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0004-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source:
Stipulation and Proposed Order re Entry of Final Judgment on First and Third Counts of Complaint under Rule 54(B) and Entry of Permanent Injunction Barring Enforcement of M.C.L. § 750.167(1)(h) 09/10/2012
FA-MI-0004-0004 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order re Entry of Final Judgment on First and Third Counts of Complaint under Rule 54(B) and Entry of Permanent Injunction Barring Enforcement of M.C.L. § 750.167(1)(h) 09/13/2012 (W.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0004-0005 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Jonker, Robert James (W.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0004-0001 | FA-MI-0004-0005 | FA-MI-0004-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Aukerman, Miriam (Michigan)
FA-MI-0004-0003 | FA-MI-0004-0004 | FA-MI-0004-9000
Korobkin, Daniel S. (Michigan)
FA-MI-0004-0003 | FA-MI-0004-0004 | FA-MI-0004-9000
Moss, Kary L. (Michigan)
FA-MI-0004-0003 | FA-MI-0004-0004
Steinberg, Michael J. (Michigan)
FA-MI-0004-0003 | FA-MI-0004-0004 | FA-MI-0004-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bloemers, Margaret P (Michigan)
FA-MI-0004-0004 | FA-MI-0004-9000
Sherman, Ann (Michigan)
FA-MI-0004-0004 | FA-MI-0004-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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